Help! I Have a Leaking Roof and I Can’t Afford to Fix It.

leaking roof

It’s that time of the year when ignoring roof problems will come back to haunt you. Here’s my own personal story of how a leaking roof changed my life – and not for the better.

Just after the mortgage crisis of 2008, my income plummeted, my house was underwater, my mortgage was underwater, my income was underwater and my spirits soon followed.

I knew my roof had problems but decided that, since I was adding a bedroom, I would wait until that was completed before I replaced the roof.

One morning, in the midst of a rainstorm, I was bundling up my dog to go to the vet. He was very ill and the doctor visit couldn’t be avoided. As we were leaving the house, I heard a strange sound coming from my bedroom. I rushed back only to be greeted with a waterfall running the length of my new track lighting!

When I called a roofer he said there was no way to repair it – I needed a whole new roof. What little money I had left after the market crashed went to pay vet bills. No way could I afford a new roof. If I didn’t deal with it right away, I would also have mold to deal with.

So, what to do?

If you have a leaking roof and need it repaired or replaced  – if you don’t have time to wait but you are short of funds, here are some suggestions.

  • If you have decent credit, you can apply for a personal loan, but not a mortgage. No lender will approve a conventional loan on a home with structural damage.
  • There is a company in San Francisco called Hearth. They lend for all kinds of home improvements. It’s worth a call to see if your financial profile fits their guidelines.
  • There is also a Section 504 Home Repair program, run by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture which offers loans and grants but only for very low-income homeowners.
  • If your equity is limited, check out the Title I Property Improvement loan, an FHA program. If the loan is less than $7,500 you don’t even need security – just your signature. Go here to read more about this loan. Scroll down a bit over halfway and read the section “The Title I Property Improvement Loan Program.”
  • FHA has a refinance loan program called the 203k which is meant just for repairs. The downside is that they will pay off your current mortgage(s) and replace with the new FHA 203k loan. You’ll find this scenario a bit pricy and you have to qualify based on your income, but it may be an option.
  • The NC Clean Energy Technology Center is a font of information. The list grants and rebate programs available in California and the U.S.
  • You can also try but if you’re in a hurry, this could take some time.
  • Talk to local roofing companies for additional suggestions.

The bottom line is that ignoring a leaking roof can cause even more serious damage. This means that you’ll pay even more money to repair the issue. The options above may allow you to repair your roof sooner rather than later. Just be sure to read the small print.

And when you’re to refinance, don’t forget to come back 🙂


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